Would illegal immigration be as big of a problem if the incentives were eliminated?

Rather than wasting time securing borders and building walls would it make more sense to eliminate the things that illegal immigrants are seeking in the US?
It seems the basic things they hope to find here are jobs, housing, medical assistance, and education.
If law enforcement made it a priority to crack down on the enablers would it make a difference?
Employers found using illegal workers- Hefty fines and jail time.
Property owners and landlords found housing illegals- Hefty fines and jail time.
Hospitals/medical centers found aiding illegals- Fines and pulled funding.
Schools/educators found educating illegals- Fines, pulled funding, lose jobs.

Now granted this wouldn’t stop someone like the SanFran shooter who is probably a homeless drug dealer, but for the masses seeking to build a life here would it have any effect if there wasn’t anything here for them?

Or do they have nothing to lose anyway and would be better off jobless/homeless in the US rather than a crappy life in Mexico?

This would absolutely have a huge impact. It was basically Romney’s plan: remove the incentives and people will 1) self-depot and 2) be less apt to come in the first place.

You would have doctors refuse to see sick people?

I don’t think housing and education are that important to most of them - at least before they get to the US. These are people who walk for days across deserts to get here.

And let’s be reasonable: nobody is going to vote for legislation that will result in prosecution of medical providers for aiding undocumented workers. Employers who hire them? Sure.

ETA: kind of ninja’d.

(post shortened)

I don’t believe jail time would be required, but illegal aliens come to the U.S. for jobs. No jobs = far, far fewer illegal aliens. The Cartel mules, drug dealers, thieves, and muggers, would still make the trip.

The only way to change things would be to make America so miserable that nobody would go there

For a while, there was a thriving route through Sudan and Egypt used by Eritrean migrants and refugees hoping to get to Israel. Criminal gangs popped up in the area that specialized in kidnapping migrants, calling their relatives, and then subjecting them to the most horrific torture imaginable until the relatives sent a random. After the money was received, the migrant would be sometimes be released, sometimes killed, and sometimes just dumped in the desert (where they may well be re-kidnapped).

Upon arriving in Israel, they were often jailed indefinitely.

All of this was common knowledge. People knew they stood a good chance of being raped, tortured and maybe killed. They knew they would quite likely end up in an Israeli prison. But they still went.

People gonna migrate. Wherever there is hopelessness, people are going to pack up and leave.

I’ve always thought this would be a great tool to use to fight illegal immigration. However, it puts the onus of verifying citizenship on possibly innocent employers and service providers and I think that would be unfair.

If it can be proven that someone deliberately and knowingly hired someone like that though, I’d be perfectly happy throwing the book at them.


This isn’t close to true. If did things like threw employers in jail who hired illegals removed carrots like allowing them to qualify for in-state tuition, and changed the law to disqualify from automatic citizenship those born here to parents who are are illegal, the number of illegals here would plummet. Add things like a much more secure border and enforcing the laws we do have on the books already and there would be very little change to the U.S.

Creating an unemployable, uneducable underclass counts a pretty big change in my book. You really want children that can’t be educated, that can’t become citizens or get a job, whose only skill is dodging ICE raids, growing up in the US?

You mean, like thefree to employer system E-Verify that is designed to prevent illegal aliens from obtaining employment illegally in the United States?

Use of this system would dramatically reduce employment for undocumented workers. Some background:

(my bold)

A challenge is that many employers don’t use the tools available. I-9s are required by law, but the verification of the information presented on the I-9 is voluntary in many cases.

I think the point is this: People will find a way around any restriction if the incentive is great enough. The OP is asking if the incentives were eliminated, would people no longer find it worth their trouble to find their way around these restrictions. Probably yes, but the only way the incentives would be low enough would be if America would be as miserable as the countries the immigrants are escaping from.

I really doubt many immigrants, legal or otherwise, move to the US so their kids can get an education. Latin American countries have schools, funnily enough, and the schools actually teach in the mother tongue of most of the people in question. India and many African countries actually do have a problem with terrible schools, but most of the immigrants from those countries (aside from, e.g. Somali political refugees) tend to be highly educated anyway.

People immigrate (legally or illegally) to the US almost entirely because of job opportunities.

They wouldn’t be growing up in the U.S… That’s the point of discouraging illegal alien immigration.

I suspect that within about 20 years, the collapse in fertility rates across Latin America is going to have a powerful impact on the labor market there- fewer people entering the workforce, so wages will go up, and people will have less of a reason to emigrate.

I agree. Making landlords responsible for verifying the citizenship of renters seems like an unfair burden. Employers, maybe, but not landlords, doctors or teachers.
But we could reduce illegal immigration significantly if we make it very hard to get jobs. And we’d also see some prices increase as a result. But that might be OK.

If there are no jobs for illegal aliens in the U.S., the illegal aliens are gonna migrate to somewhere else.

In my experience of talking to Latino immigrants in San Diego, mostly from Mexico, education was the largest single reason for coming to the US. The adults who immigrated knew that their lives would not be much better; their main motivation was to give their children a better future. I never heard anyone say a word about housing.

Well, this isn’t something you can turn off like a light switch. Passing laws and ramping up enforcement of existing ones - that is, making life as hellish for illegal immigrants as possible - would have to occur in stages, over time. Meanwhile, immigrants would continue to enter the country, and continue to have children.

That’s hardly the only way to change things. If the places illegal immigrants were coming from became places that had most of the opportunities available they are seeking here, then we would see a significant decline in people coming here illegally. I would offer Canada as an example - a huge common border that is largely unprotected but I’m not aware of a problem with an influx of illegal Canadians in the US.

Until E-Verify is made mandatory for all employers in the US there will be little change to the current situation. Apparently, green cards and other applicable IDs are notoriously easy to counterfeit and available for purchase. Even an employer who keeps meticulously up to date I-9s has no guarantee the documents presented by the prospective employee are genuine. If they look legitimate they are accepted. I would think an employer who utilizes E-Verify when it isn’t required would have greater difficulty finding employees for certain jobs, therefore there is little incentive to do more than require documents and keep a completed I-9 form on file for all employees.